October 11, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The autumnal tints have not been so bright as usual this year, but why it is hard to say. The summer has been peculiarly cool, as well as wet, and it may be that the leaves have been the more inclined to decay before coming to maturity. Also, apparently, many leaves are killed by the mere frosts before ripening, the locust for instance, —and the frost came early this year, —just as melons and squashes before they have turned yellow; i.e., the leaves fall while they are still green.

October 10, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How agreeable to the eye at this season the color of new fallen leaves….sere & crisp. When freshly fallen with their forms & their veins still distinct they have a certain life in them still….

You make a great noise now walking in the woods on account of the dry leaves—especially chestnut & oak—& maples that cover the ground….

October 9, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal

The witch hazel here is in full blossom on this magical hill-side—while its broad yellow leaves are falling—some bushes are completely bare of leaves, and leather-colored they strew the ground. It is an extremely interesting plant—October & November’s child—and yet reminds me of the very earliest spring—  Its blossoms smell like the spring—like the willow catkins—by their color as well as fragrance they belong to the saffron dawn of the year.— Suggesting amid all these signs of Autumn—falling leaves & frost—that the life of nature—by which she eternally flourishes, is untouched.

It stands here in the shadow on the side of the hill while the sunlight from over the top of the hill lights up its topmost sprays & yellow blossoms. Its spray so jointed and angular is not to be mistaken for any other. I lie on my back with joy under its boughs. While its leaves fall—its blossoms spring. The autumn then is indeed a spring. All the year is a spring. I see two blackbirds high over head going south, but I am going north in my thoughts with these hazel blossoms. 

October 8, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It has come to this, — that the lover of art is one, and the lover of nature another, though true art is but the expression of our love of nature.  It is monstrous when one cares but little about trees but much about Corinthian columns, and yet this is exceedingly common.

October 7, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

When I turn round halfway up Fair Haven Hill, by the orchard wall, and look northwest, I am surprised for the thousandth time by the beauty of the landscape and sit down to behold it in my leisure…..

I do not know how to entertain those who cannot take long walks….I give up my forenoon to them, and get along pretty well, the very elasticity of the air and promise of the day abetting me, but they are as heavy as dumplings by mid-afternoon. If they can’t walk, why won’t they take an honest nap in the afternoon and let me go?

October 6, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:  

The revolution of the seasons is a great and steady flow…a graceful, peaceful motion,

like the swell on lakes and seas.

What is sacrificed to time is lost to eternity.

October 5, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

There is not now that profusion, and consequent confusion, of events which belongs to a summer walk. There are few flowers, birds, insects, or fruits now, and hence what does occur affects us as more simple and significant, as the cawing of a crow or the scream of a jay. The latter seems to scream more fitly and with more freedom through the vacancies occasioned by fallen maple leaves.

October 3, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

From Heywood’s Peak at Walden the shore is now more beautifully painted.  The most prominent are the red maples & the yellowish aspens.  

October 2, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The prinos berries are in their prime––seven sixteenths of an inch in diameter. They are scarlet––somewhat lighter than the arum berries.

They are now very fresh and bright and what adds to their effect is the perfect freshness and greenness of the leaves amid which they are seen.

October 1, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Surveying in Lincoln.  A severer frost last night. The young & tender trees begin to assume the autumnal tints more generally—plainly in consequence of the frost the last 2 mornings. The sides of the bushy hills present a rich variety of colors like rug work—but the forest generally is not yet changed.